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Judge Roy Moore to appeal order to remove Ten Commandments statue

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (BP)–Chief Justice Roy Moore has filed notice that he will appeal a federal court order declaring his monument to the Ten Commandments in the state judicial building rotunda unconstitutional, according to The Birmingham News.

“Federal district courts have no jurisdiction or authority to prohibit the acknowledgement of God that is specifically recognized in the Constitution of Alabama,” Moore said in a written statement released Dec. 10. “Our constitution provides that to establish justice, we must invoke ‘the favor and guidance of Almighty God.'”

Moore also noted, “For a federal court to say we cannot acknowledge God contradicts our history and our law.”

The 5,300-pound monument features the King James Bible version of the Ten Commandments sitting on top of a granite block. Around the monument are quotes from historical figures and documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, but critics contend the commandments dominate.

Moore installed the monument on the night of July 31, 2001, as a film crew from Florida television evangelist D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries documented the event.

He said he installed the monument partly because of his concern that the United States has suffered a moral decline over the past 40 or 50 years as a result of federal court rulings, including those against prayer in public schools.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled Nov. 18 that the monument violates the First Amendment’s ban on state establishment of religion and requested that Moore remove the monument within 30 days. The monument remains in the judicial building, and Thompson has scheduled a Dec. 19 hearing on whether to issue an injunction to require Moore to have it removed in 15 days.

“I think what we heard today echoed of George Wallace,” Richard Cohen, an attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in response to Moore’s Dec. 10 statement. “He said the federal courts have no authority to order him to do anything Alabama law doesn’t require him to do. Whatever views Moore has about this, federal law is supreme.”

Moore is a Baptist layman who came into the national spotlight for fighting to display the Ten Commandments in a county courthouse. He was elected Alabama chief justice in 2000.

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